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Concept & Design

Oh Golly... Oh Gosh... The concept of 'The fool looks at the finger that points to the sky' began as a paper world that revolved around a tree, this concept went through many changes and ideas. The following images show the progression of ideas and how some elements completely change and others still remain right from the start.

Click on the images below to enlarge them:

 

 


Storyboard

Well then, well then... Storyboarding can be an essential part of any film or animation and can save a lot of time and frustration. Most of 'The fool looks at the finger that points to the sky' was storyboarded fully before beginning production but some sections were just left as action notes to give a bit more room for more spontanious animation.

Click on the images below to see some storyboard to final shot comparisons:

 

 


Click on the images below to view larger images:

 

 


Modelling -
Dr Funf's world of wonder.

The world of 'The Fool' is a simple one. Small wooden toys were carved using 3D Studio Max by the fair hands of Dr Funf.

Click on the images below to enlarge them:

 

 


Animation

'The fool looks at the finger that points to the sky' was animated using 3D Studio Max.

 
 

 


The puppet character 'Bobo' moves in a very similar way to a normal puppet might do, this is because he is animated in much the same way. Although you dont see it, he is animated using a wooden rig like a normal marionette. There are a few differences but the main difference is that rather than moving it with two hands it is animated by keyframing. By using dynamic solutions this motion then affects the strings that link it to Bobo's body and in turn Bobo himself.

Many test rigs were made to find the best and easiest method of animating the Character and each rig was used to make short walk cycles and also to throw Bobo around a bit to see how tangled he might get during the more dynamic scenes.

Puppet Preview 1 - Walk


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Puppet Preview 2 - Seizure


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Previews are rendered as a rough visualisation of how the final rendered footage will look. Most scenes took between 8 and 20 minutes per frame to render, and considering that there are 25 frames in a second, a 5 second shot might take 40 hours of solid rendering time. A small selection of shots took 1 hour per frame, which works out over 24 hours rendering time for one second of footage. Most editing of the film was done with previews rather than final footage to save time when rendering, previews also allow you to check the animation in realtime to look at timing and movement. The whole film exists in preview form which only take a few moments to render even long shots.

 
Preview 1 - Fall

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Preview 2 - Train Ride

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Preview 3 - Step

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Some of the camera tracks used motion capture from pointing devices to create subtle natural movements. Mostly this movement is barely visible but is one of the small details that helps build on the overall feel. The cameras field of view was used to massively distort perspective and distance, in some places almost 180 degrees.

The Following images are Test Shots from different stages during the production.

 

 


Lighting

From a very early point in the lighting was an important consideration. Many experiments were done using different lights and shadows. Different surfaces on objects were also tested to see how the light would reflect off them onto other objects. Due to the effects on rendering time a lot of tweaking had to be done and in some cases many lights were taken out and global lighting quality was reduced. This is noticeable in most scenes but somehow adds to the look of the overall video.

The images below are just a small selection of test shots that were made focusing on light:

 

 


Production Notes

When some parts of the animation are taking over an hour per frame to render and you only have one computer to work on it's very important to make sure you're not rendering too much and losing days of time for just secons of animation. The whole video is made in preview form and edited using these preview files before final rendering so to be sure of timing and shot lengths. Many final render test images are also rendered at key points in each shot to ensure nothing has been missed such as a hidden object that's been unhidden or a helper light that's not turned off.

The following few pages of production notes are mainly start and endpoints for rendering in 3DSMax:

 

 


Final Cut -
Madame Foo Foo's final edit.
A small and close family of friends gathered at the Macklin Street headquarters on Bens birthday as the first to see more than a few seconds since its beginnings.

Yes... It was the ladies final edit.
 

 


Indeed a deliberation took place and many viewings did follow... The final edit consisted of two stages, the primary stage was one of solitary discussions with Madame Foo Foo and decisions were made regarding small but significant changes. The second phase was following the primary viewing that took place at 9.30pm on 7th August 2006. Feedback and suggestions were collated and queries were made regarding some of less significant changes.

The end had arrived and with it comes sadness and joy... Now for the website and the DVD's. It never really ends.